Following the 2001 US-led intervention to oust the Taliban regime, the Afghan government pledged to advance women’s rights. Today, despite the fall of the Taliban, women human rights defenders frequently come under attack and even face death for the work that they do. The number of women civilian casualties is increasing while overall civilian casualties are on the decline. This targeting of women--in particular those working in the public sphere and those defending women's human rights--must stop.
Many Afghan women human rights defenders have been killed or threatened because of their gender and because of their activities, and some have fled the country. They face intimidation and attacks by powerful and conservative elements in society, including members of the government and authorities, and the Taliban and other armed opposition groups who perceive their work as defying cultural, religious and social norms about the role of women in society. Others are threatened or attacked by family members who may be embarrassed by their outspokenness or their work.